"When You Wish Upon a Star" is a song written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Walt Disney's 1940 adaptation of Pinocchio.[1] The original version was sung by Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards)[1] and is heard over the opening credits and in the final scene of the film. It has since become the representative song of The Walt Disney Company. The recording by Cliff Edwards and Chorus was released by Victor Records as catalogue number 261546 and 26477A (in USA) and by EMI on the His Master's Voice Label as catalogue number BD 821.

Edwards recorded another version in 1940 for an American Decca Records "cover version" of the score of Pinocchio, conducted by Victor Young and featuring soprano Julietta Novis and The King's Men. It was first released on a 4-record 78-RPM album set, and years later as one side of an LP, backed by selections from The Wizard of Oz. A recording with Christian Rub (with Mister Geppetto's voice), Cliff Edwards and Chorus was released by Victor Records as catalogue number 26479B (in USA) and by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalogue number BD 823. It won the 1940 Academy Award for Best Original Song.[1] It was also the first Disney song to win an Oscar.


Male Character (Singing)/Chorus (Vocalizing):
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Chorus (Singing):
Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Jiminy Cricket (Singing)/Chorus (Vocalzing):
Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

Jiminy Cricket (Singing)/Chorus (Vocalizing):
When your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme

Chorus (Singing):
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true
You'll find your dreams come true

Jimminy Cricket (Singing):
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

When a star is born
They possess a gift or two
One of them is this
They have the power to make a wish come true


The American Film Institute ranked the song seventh in their 100 Greatest Songs in Film History, the highest ranked Disney animated film song, and also one of only four Disney animated film songs to appear on the list, with the others being "Some Day My Prince Will Come" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ranked at #19, "Beauty and the Beast" from the film of the same name ranked at #62, and "Hakuna Matata" from The Lion King ranked at #99.

The song reached the top one in Billboard's Record Buying Guide, a predecessor of the retail sales chart. Popular versions included Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo, Horace Heidt and, of course, Cliff Edwards.

In Japan, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, the song has become a Christmas song, often referring to the Star of Bethlehem. The Swedish language version is called Ser du stjärnan i det blå, roughly translated: "do you see the star in the blue(sky)", and the Danish title is "Når du ser et stjerneskud", which translates as "When you see a shooting star". In Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, the song is played on television every Christmas Eve in the traditional Disney one-hour Christmas cabaret, and the gathering of the entire family to watch this is considered a Scandinavian tradition.

The song was also covered by Dion and the Belmonts in 1960.

The song was covered by KISS bassist Gene Simmons, on his eponymous solo album in 1978. Simmons said that he covered it because he related to it and was a fan of Disney movies. "When I first heard that song I could barely speak English but I knew the words were true. Anybody can have what they want, the world and life can give its rewards to anyone."[2]

In 1986, Linda Ronstadt recorded the classic song for her Platinum-certified album For Sentimental Reasons. Released as the album's first single, it peaked at #32 in Billboard Magazine at year's end.

Billy Joel performed the song in the 1991 direct-to-video special Simply Mad About the Mouse: A Musical Celebration of Imagination and its soundtrack. A video was produced with Joel featuring as an animated character interacting with famous Disney characters.[3]

In 1995, Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Chipettes recorded a cover as the final track to their Disney-themed album When You Wish Upon a Chipmunk.

The song is presented twice in Disney's RocketMan (1997). The first time it appears in the film, it is sung by Fred Z. Randall (played by Harland Williams) while looking at a star outside of a spaceship. Then at the end of the film, an abridged version of the original by Cliff Edwards plays as Randall and Julie Ford (Jessica Lundy) dance together on a spaceship.

Neil Diamond covered the song on his 1998 album The Movie Album: As Time Goes By.

Mannheim Steamroller covered the song on their 1999 album Mannheim Steamroller Meets the Mouse.

'N Sync recorded a cover for Disneymania (2002), Ashley Gearing covered the song for Disneymania 2 (2003), Jesse McCartney covered it for Disneymania 3 (2005), and Kate Voegele performed it for Disneymania 6 (2008).

In 2005, Julie Andrews selected the original Cliff Edwards recording for the album Julie Andrews Selects Her Favorite Disney Songs.

In 2009, Meaghan Jette Martin covered the song for the DVD release from Disney's 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition of Pinocchio.

The Library of Congress deemed the song "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and preserved it into the National Recording Registry in 2009.[4]

On February 15, 2011, Celtic Woman released a cover of the song as the first track on their album Celtic Woman: Lullaby.[5]

Brian Wilson admits that the melody of The Beach Boys hit song "Surfer Girl", which has the same AABA form,[6] is loosely based on the Dion and the Belmonts version of "When You Wish Upon a Star".[7][8][9][10] Wilson also covered it on his album In the Key of Disney, which was released on October 25, 2011.

Later, on Christmas Day 2011, Jessica Jung of Girls' Generation covered the song for their MBC Christmas Special.

On 2012 album Disney - Koe no Oujisama, which features various seiyus covering Disney songs, this song was covered by Takahiro Sakurai

Rod Stewart covered the song for his 2012 Christmas album Merry Christmas, Baby.[11] Idina Menzel also recorded the song for her 2014 Christmas album Holiday Wishes.[12]

Avant-garde guitarist Buckethead occasionally plays a shortened version live.

A cover version of the orchestral underscore is used in the Walt Disney World commercial: "Wake Up Call" to replace "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" as seen in the Pocahontas 1996 VHS tape.

"When You Wish" was the corps song of the Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps.[13] In addition, it was the first musical chart in Star's first competitive program in 1985 (as the entire musical book was drawn from Disney properties).

Disney icon

"When You Wish Upon a Star", along with Mickey Mouse, has become an icon of The Walt Disney Company. In the 1950s and 1960s, Walt Disney used the song in the opening sequences of all the editions of the Walt Disney anthology television series. It has also been used to accompany the Walt Disney Pictures opening logos – including the present-day logo – since the 1980s. The ships of the Disney Cruise Line use the first seven notes of the song's melody as their horn signals. Additionally, many productions at Disney theme parks – particularly fireworks shows and parades – employ the song.

Other Versions

Performer(s) Title(s) Translations(s) Language
ناير ناجي (Nayer Nagui) "اهمس حلمك للنجوم" "Whisper Your Dream to the Stars" Arabic
Aristóteles Pena (1940 version)
Ênio Santos (1961 version)
Brazilian Portuguese
Орлин Горанов
(Orlin Goranov)
"Падне ли звезда в нощта" Bulgarian
Đani Stipaničev Croatian
Josef Štágr "Přej si, přej" Czech
Victor Cornelius (1950 version)
Michael Elo (1978 version)
Bjørn Tidmand (1995 version)
"Når du ser et stjerneskud" "When You See a Shooting Star" Danish
Cruys Voorbergh (1949 version)
Olaf Wijnants (1995 version)
"Als Er Eens een Ster Verschiet" "If Ever Appears a Shooting Star" Dutch
Seppo Mäki Finnish
Jean Lumière (1946 version)
Olivier Constantin (1975 version)
"Quand on prie la bonne étoile" "When We Pray for the Right Star" French
Georg Thomalla German
Γιάννης Φίνας (Giannis Finas) "Σ' ένα αστέρι αν ευχηθείς" "If you wish upon a star" Greek
ישראל גוריון
(Israel Gurion)
László Csákányi (1962 version)
Csaba Jegercsik (2000 version)
"Csillagfény" "Starlight" Hungarian
Sverrir Guðjónsson Icelandic
"Berharap Pada Bintang" "Wish Upon a Star" Indonesian
Ricardo Billi (1947 version)
Bruno Filippini (1963 version)
"Una stella cade" "A Star Falls" Italian
Pablo Palitos "La Estrella Azul" "The Blue Star" Latin American Spanish
"Percaya Pada Impianmu" "Believe in Your Dreams" Malay
Øivind Blunck "Når en stjerne faller ned" "When a Star Falls Down" Norwegian
Kazimierz Brusikiewicz "Milion gwiazd na niebie lśni" "A Million Stars Shine in the Sky" Polish
Jorge Alves Portuguese
Ioan Orheian Romanian
Евгений Дятлов
(Evgeni Dyatlov)
Nathan Görling (1940 version)
Bertil Engh (1995 version)
"När en önskestjärna tänds" (1940 version)
"Ser du stjärnan i det blå" (1995 version)
"When a Wishing Star Lights Up" (1940 version)
"Do You See the Star in the Blue Sky" (1995 version)


The piece has become a jazz standard.[14] It has been performed by artists including Louis Armstrong, June Christy, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Glenn Miller, Joe Pass, the Keith Jarrett Trio, The Manhattan Transfer, Sun Ra, Jason Becker and Bill Evans.


The owner of the rights to the song, Bourne Co. Music Publishers, sued Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Fox Broadcasting Company, Fuzzy Door Productions, Cartoon Network, Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane to try to stop distribution of a 2003 Family Guy episode entitled "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" that parodies the song in a version called I Need a Jew. A federal judge ruled against Bourne Co, stating that parodying the song did not infringe on the company's copyright.[15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 134. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. KISSMONSTER - Song Stories - "When You Wish Upon A Star" (1978, Gene Simmons)
  3. Billy Joel: When You Wish Upon a Star - YouTube
  4. National Recording Registry Adds 25 - News Releases (Library of Congress)
  5. LULLABY - Celtic Woman - Irish Music Sensation
  6. Philip Lambert, Inside the Music of Brian Wilson: The Songs, Sounds, and Influences of the Beach Boys' Founding Genius (Continuum, 2007):28.
  7. Brian Wilson Tweet (5:44 PM - 15 Feb 2011 Tweet)
  8. Philip Lambert, Inside the Music of Brian Wilson: The Songs, Sounds, and Influences of the Beach Boys' Founding Genius (Continuum, 2007):27.
  9. Jim Fusilli, Pet Sounds, Volume 19 of 33 1/3 (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005):23.
  10. Domenic Priore, Smile: The Story of Brian Wilson's Lost Masterpiece (Sanctuary, 2005):32.
  11. Rod Stewart - Merry Christmas, Baby CD Album
  12. Idina Menzel announces Christmas album, includes Michael Bublé duet
  13. News: Celebrating 20 years of Star of Indiana
  14. When You Wish Upon A Star
  15. Owner of 'Wish Upon a Star' song loses Fox lawsuit
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at When You Wish upon a Star. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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